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[in-tel-i-juh ns] /ɪnˈtɛl ɪ dʒəns/
capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
manifestation of a high mental capacity:
He writes with intelligence and wit.
the faculty of understanding.
knowledge of an event, circumstance, etc., received or imparted; news; information.
the gathering or distribution of information, especially secret information.
  1. information about an enemy or a potential enemy.
  2. the evaluated conclusions drawn from such information.
  3. an organization or agency engaged in gathering such information:
    military intelligence; naval intelligence.
interchange of information:
They have been maintaining intelligence with foreign agents for years.
Christian Science. a fundamental attribute of God, or infinite Mind.
(often initial capital letter) an intelligent being or spirit, especially an incorporeal one, as an angel.
Origin of intelligence
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin intelligentia. See intelligent, -ence
Related forms
hyperintelligence, noun
nonintelligence, noun
preintelligence, noun
superintelligence, noun
1. See mind. 2. discernment, reason, acumen, aptitude, penetration.
2. stupidity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for intelligence
  • They live secret lives, surviving on stealth and intelligence.
  • Many explanations for the evolution of primate intelligence relate to the challenges of finding food.
  • The idea of the neurons' centrality to social intelligence is gaining ground.
  • Low hanging fruit from a guy who should have the experience and intelligence to dig deeper.
  • The freedom gave him courage to meet any contradiction, and intelligence enough to ignore it.
  • He suspects the intelligence or the heart of his friend.
  • To the soul they give intelligence and that delectation that cometh of the contemplation of truth.
  • Furthermore, crows may provide clues to understanding human intelligence.
  • While hyenas are known as scavengers, they also possess great intelligence and skill on the hunt.
  • Octopuses of many species are well known for their intelligence.
British Dictionary definitions for intelligence


the capacity for understanding; ability to perceive and comprehend meaning
good mental capacity: a person of intelligence
(old-fashioned) news; information
military information about enemies, spies, etc
a group or department that gathers or deals with such information
(often capital) an intelligent being, esp one that is not embodied
(modifier) of or relating to intelligence: an intelligence network
Derived Forms
intelligential, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin intellegentia, from intellegere to discern, comprehend, literally: choose between, from inter- + legere to choose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for intelligence

late 14c., "faculty of understanding," from Old French intelligence (12c.), from Latin intelligentia, intellegentia "understanding, power of discerning; art, skill, taste," from intelligentem (nominative intelligens) "discerning," present participle of intelligere "to understand, comprehend," from inter- "between" (see inter-) + legere "choose, pick out, read" (see lecture (n.)).

Meaning superior understanding, sagacity" is from early 15c. Sense of "information, news" first recorded mid-15c., especially "secret information from spies" (1580s). Intelligence quotient first recorded 1921 (see I.Q.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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intelligence in Medicine

intelligence in·tel·li·gence (ĭn-těl'ə-jəns)

  1. The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, especially toward a purposeful goal.

  2. An individual's relative standing on two quantitative indices, namely measured intelligence, as expressed by an intelligence quotient, and effectiveness of adaptive behavior.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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